The day started with a cycle through the crisp but sunny city of Copenhagen and ended with the afternoon spent admiring Christmas lights and markets at the Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
After a very jet lagged household was all asleep between 6 and 7.30pm on our first night, most of us managed at least some sleep. The kids slept in til after 7.30am with only a couple of hours awake in the middle of the night for Soren, better than the usual jet lagged effort of being awake from 3 or 4am. They must have been tired! The adults were all up at various states of early but Anto and I would have slept if it weren’t for Soren so didn’t feel too awful.
Upon waking up at 7.30am we did have to convince Astrid that it was actually morning since it was very dark and cold (and stayed that way for quite some time). The morning started with a hot breakfast cooked in the kitchen of our Kobenhavn house and then we all rugged up for our trip into they city and our scheduled morning bike tour. To get into the city we have a 600m walk to Danshoj station, which allowed us plenty of time to watch the 8.40am sunrise!
Then it’s a 4 stop train ride to Copenhagen Central Station (Kobenhavn H). Central is an amazing building and one of the prettiest train station we’ve visited. The kids are also fond of all the Christmas lights and big Christmas trees.
We noticed on a previous visit to Amsterdam that they are fond of their bikes, and bikes are everywhere around train stations. Well it’s not that different in Copenhagen, except they keep their bikes in a much neater fashion, less piles and much more order! I love a good photo of rows of bikes.
After the train to central and a walk to the Vesteboro starting point of the bike tour. The tours only operate as private and weather dependant tours during Winter, but we’d lucked out and it was a beautiful sunny day, if a balmy 3 degrees! We met our tour guide Christian at 9.30am and he decked us out with our bikes. The kids were in a trailer, to be pulled by Anto. The trailer was remarkably similar to the one we have at home for them. The bikes however, were not that similar to our home bikes. Far more upright and they had handy baskets and trays at the front. Once we were on and riding though I could see why this style of bike was so popular around Copenhagen, you could easily ride on the flat streets wearing regular clothes and it was a fun and easy way to get around.
Our tour was a loop of the city. Christian provided lots of useful background info on the cities sights, and history. First stop was the meat packing district and then we hit the city centre and headed towards Christiansborg Palace, where to the kids delight some of the horses were out and about!
Near the palace, the light was beautiful shining over the canals.
Next we worked our way towards the famous Nyhavn harbour, which is definitely the stuff postcards of Copenhagen are made of. The sun being out gave us a pretty good view.
As you can see the kids were having a ball! They were mostly being good at this stage, despite the odd bribing with a jelly snake! We then headed down to the waterfront to check out the new opera house, an extremely modern building in comparison to most of Copenhagen. You can also see some of the windmills and smoke stacks on the other less attractive side of the harbour.
Then we headed to Amalienborg Palace (Princess Mary’s digs). She wasn’t home as it was the weekend as she was at her ‘weekend palace’. We did confirm though that the Australian magazines are corrected and she is much adored by all Danes.
Next stop was the famous Gefion fountain. Which would look more impressive with water in it, but was still pretty good. The surrounding bridges are also very scenic and it is adjacent to St Alban’s church which is also very pretty.
We then headed down to the iconic (but not very interesting) little mermaid statue. The kids were far more impressed than we were!
We then wandered back through the city and various other interesting neighbourhoods. Copenhagen is extremely easy to ride around. It’s flat, there are bike lanes everywhere and pedestrians and cars give way to bikes most of the time. It was also a much faster way of covering the sights of the city. I can definitely see why so many locals use bikes as their primary form of transport.
Towards the end of the tour, the kids were getting a bit grumpy. It had been over 2 hours out in the cold so it wasn’t entirely surprising. We finished up our tour and bid Christian farewell and headed off to a nearby cafe for lunch. The adults all ended up with the worlds most enormous burgers (and beers for the boys). The kids had pancakes, because when on holiday eat all form of pancake! No photos since my camera bag was buried under a pile of coats at this point.
All full of food we headed off shopping to purchase the missing bits of warm clothes like boots and wool socks. It was nice to be out of the cold but the indoor areas are so hot that you have to strip off a million layers of clothes every time you go inside. Of course by the time we walked to the shopping centre, Soren had fallen asleep in the ergo (on Anto) so he was stuck wearing all the warm clothes for quite awhile and nearly passed out. We had some moderate success with the boot shopping, but after an hour or so we were all a bit sick of the warm (ironic really) and decided to head back out into the cold.
We thought we would head to Tivoli Gardens for a couple of hours to see the Christmas lights and markets. We had purchased a 5 day Copenhagen Card and that gives up 5 entries on all the included attractions. We had planned a longer visit to Tivoli to do some rides, but thought that since were all a little tired we’d skip the museums for the rest of the day and take the kids to something fun.
Tivoli is opposite central station and is an old style amusement park. It was opened in 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world. When we walked out of the train station we saw the very long lines snaking down past the Tivoli entrance.
We had been warned that it got very busy on the weekends! The lines seemed to be moving fast though so we hopped in line and waited around in the cold to see how long it would take. It was probably only 15-20 minutes and once we were inside it was a magical land of twinkling lights (and about a million people).
The kids stared in awe at all the lights (it wasn’t yet quite dark) and the Christmas displays. We decided to sit outside and watch the rides and have a hot coffee or hot chocolate from one of the cafes. It turned out to be a long wait for the hot drinks and the most expensive hot drinks ever, but once they arrived they weren’t too bad. In the meantime, Soren had developed an intense interest in watching all the terrifying rides and asking to go on them. Never mind he is about a metre under the height restriction!
We then decided to wander through the park and check out the market stalls and look at the lights. The crowds were insane and at times we reached a total impasse and had to change directions. It was now rapidly getting dark (being 3.30pm and all) so we got to see the lights in all their glory.
Soren spent lots of time telling us which rides he wanted to go on and shouting ‘more, more, more’ for everything. We wandered for awhile and our original plan was to get some dinner at Tivoli and then head back to our accommodation. By about 4.15pm we were sick of fighting through the crowds and the kids were getting tired so we opted to leave and grab some supplies for dinner on the way back. It then took us another half hour to locate and make our way to the entrance. Plenty of time for lovely photos of all the lights. It was a picturesque place, but would have been better with about half the number of people.
We eventually escaped, and planned to return on a weekday when it was a little quieter. Once we were outside Soren started sobbing uncontrollably shouting ‘go back, go back’ as he really didn’t want to leave. No amount of reassuring him we were going to return later in the week helped. He cried for over half an hour. Apparently rides (which he was only watching), ducks, lights and thousands of people were where it was at when you are Soren.
We picked up some good dinner supplies from a co-op in central station that did good food packs and interesting deli supplies. At this stage Astrid had collapsed unconscious from exhaustion and was being transferred from one person in the ergo to another without waking… and Soren was still crying about the injustice about being made to leave Tivoli.
We eventually got back to our train (with a still sleeping Astrid) and made our way back to the accommodation. Astrid slept pretty much the whole way home. Meanwhile Soren had only just forgiven us for taking him away from his favourite place ever. Some very tired kids made a half-hearted attempt to eat their dinner and were in bed and asleep about 5 minutes later. The adults manage to stay up a little later but were still pretty exhausted.
Stats for the day – average temperature 4 degrees celsius. Walking, approximately 13 km. Bike riding approximately 12km.
We had another big day planned for the next day including a boat tour and some Christmas markets.